(Kyiv) The Ukrainian army must face an “increase in the number of Russian assaults” in the east of the country, particularly around the disputed town of Avdiïvka, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.
Moscow’s forces have been trying for a month to surround this industrial city, which has become one of the hot spots in the conflict. This Russian effort follows months of Ukrainian offensives which did not allow Kyiv to liberate the occupied territories.
The front line has been de facto almost frozen for a year, even if Volodymyr Zelensky, on one side, and the Kremlin, on the other, assure that the war is not at an impasse.
“The army reported an increase in the number of enemy attacks,” the Ukrainian president said on his Telegram channel, citing the areas of Avdiivka, Kupiansk and Donetsk in the east.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based analysis center, said in its latest report Monday that “Russian forces continued offensive operations near Avdiivka on November 13 and achieved confirmed gains.”
Volodymyr Zelensky assured that his soldiers “held their positions” and also carried out “offensives”.
Ukraine recently noted the failure of its counter-offensive which began last June and which came up against solid Russian defenses.
However, it is essential to gain ground for Kyiv, which wants to avoid the effect of weariness among its Western allies with regard to a conflict which has lasted for almost two years.
In Ukraine, it is emphasized that the Kremlin has increased the number of troops engaged in the war and that Western aid is therefore more necessary than ever to block Russian ambitions.
“The number of Russian troops in Ukraine is three times higher than at the start of the aggression, and our country therefore needs to preserve international support,” the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration urged on Tuesday on Telegram, Andriï Iermak, after a meeting in Washington.
There he met Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Briton Timothy Barrow and advisers to the German and French leaders, Jens Plötner and Emmanuel Bonn.
Ukraine remains largely silent about its own offensives.
According to Russian military bloggers and experts who analyzed open source intelligence, the Ukrainian army has managed to anchor forces on the occupied bank of the Dnieper River since late October, particularly in the village of Krynky in the southern region of Kherson.
“Against all expectations, the Ukrainian defense forces have established a foothold on the left bank of the Dnieper,” Andriï Iermak simply declared on Tuesday, without giving further details.
This information has not been confirmed by the Ukrainian army or by Moscow.
Volodymyr Zelensky also accused the Russians on Tuesday of “taking revenge on the free city of Kherson”, which has just celebrated the first anniversary of the end of its occupation, by bombing it “without any military reason”.
The day before, Russian attacks left three people dead and twelve injured, including a two-month-old baby, according to local authorities.
Gn world Fr